ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee was Tuesday informed that only 7.5 percent of total 9875 acres of land required for Dasu hydropower project has been acquired. The National Assembly standing committee on water resources that met under the chairmanship of Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur was further informed that the cost of the Dasu Hydropower project had increased by around 95 percent from the early Rs 19 billion to Rs 37 billion.

Secretary of the Ministry and Member (Water), WAPDA briefed the Committee on the issue of land acquisition for Dasu Hydro Power Project and informed that SMBR, KPK has promised during the 14th meeting of PSC that the district administration will acquire the land in priority area (1247 acres) within 6 months and the remaining land within one year of revised land acquisition plan subject to its approval from ECNEC. He further apprised that ECNEC in its meeting held on October 2, 2019, approved revised land acquisition plan on the proposal of the Ministry but minutes are awaited so requested that SMBR KPK may be directed to fulfill promise for acquisition of land to start the project as per proposed plan without any delay.

Cost of project has increased by around 95 percent to Rs 37 billion

The committee was informed that a total of 9875 acres of land is required for the project which includes 866 acres for main civil works,1121 acres for preparatory work and 7888 for reservoir area. However, so far 740 acres of land was acquired which is in procession, while the remaining 9135 acres has to be acquired.

The Member (Water) WAPDA further briefed the committee that as per revised plan of cost of acquisition of land increased from 19 billion to 37 billion and the said additional increase of Rs. 18 billion (37-19) will be borne by WAPDA from its equity and local commercial financing.

Secretary Ministry of Water Resources briefed and answered the question of the members about the implementation status of the previous recommendations of the committee. The Committee was satisfied on the briefing. However, a Sub-Committee was constituted on the proposal of the Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and the request of the members of last Sub-Committee as the time frame of 30 days of said Sub-Committee lapsed without completing the assigned task.

While responding to the observations of Ali Nawaz Awan, MNA the Chairman of the Committee enhanced the TORs of the new Sub-Committee with observation that the said member may be invited as special invitee in the meeting of the Sub-Committee for taking the CDA on board. The said Sub-Committee will report to the S/C on Water Resources within 30 days as per rule.

Chairman of the committee said that the committee has several times asked about the issuance of production order for Asif Ali Zardari and Khwaja Saad Rafiq but it was not issued. Both Asif Ali Zardari and Khwaja Sadd Rafiq are members of the Water Resource committee. Nuzhat Pathan said they cannot continue the meeting of the committee without the production order of both the members. However Ali Nawaz Awan said that both Asif Ali Zardari and Khwaja Sadd Rafiq were not earlier  members of the committee and they were members after going to jail.

The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (Amendments) Bill, 2019 being an agenda item was deferred due to non availability of the Mover of the Bill. The Committee showed its displeasure to the Secretary Irrigation of all four provinces due to their lower level representation in committee meeting on the agenda item regarding IRSA to brief the committee on water distribution amongst the provinces and its shortages.